How to make an asterisk out of yourself
And now for the Tuesday Lite Notebook (wherein we overhype, teletype, stereotype and sideswipe the various issues of the day):
» National Punctuation Day (The Day That Keeps On Giving -- At Least to Your Friendly, Neighborhood Columnist): We are dangerously close to getting five columns out of a single subject, which I believe would be a National Society of Newspaper Columnists record. Who knew that a column on that most obscure of national recognition days would keep haunting us, like the bone-chilling specter of an Al Gore presidential bid? But National Punctuation Day is a day of many asterisks, exclamation points and question marks.
I thanked Pat Matsueda, professor of a University of Hawaii professional editing class, for pointing out punctuation errors in the first column, but in that follow-up column I referred to him as a "sir." I learned from just about everyone with an e-mail account in the UH English Department that Pat actually is not a sir, but a she, Patricia. Which raises an interesting punctuation issue for people with unisex names like Pat, Kim, Jan, Bo, Drew and the often gender-bending moniker "Rocco Diesel Nuke." How about some punctuation gender hints to go with unisex names? Like "Kim/" for guys and "Kim;)" for girls? Or "Pat%-" for guys and "Pat>" for girls? or maybe "Jan))" for girls and "Jan---<" for guys? I'm open to suggestions.
» Reflections of a Docent Guy: My friend Mac McMorrow -- who is something of a closet intellectual and semiprofessional wag -- sends this report on a recent museum trip: While being shown beautiful turtle-shell fishhooks collected by Capt. Cook, one viewer asked the exhibit guide, "Don't these fishhooks have an erotic symbolism to Pacific islanders, besides just being used to catch fish?" The docent, after a thoughtful pause, said, "Wasn't it Freud who said sometimes a pipe is just a pipe? No, I think these are just fishhooks."
"It was therefore with some interest," confides Mac -- himself a docent -- "when later I was alone and viewing the selection of spears collected on that voyage that I noted the labeling for those spears. There were five spears of varying levels of ornateness. Some, in fact, looked like just plain sticks. As I walked from one end of the collection to the other, the first four artifacts were boldly labeled 'Spear' and their origins identified. The fifth, to my surprise, was labeled 'Stick.' Feeling as though I was standing in the shadow of Sigmund Freud, I thought to myself, 'Sometimes a stick is just a stick.'"
» Attention Man-Cave Dwellers: My recent column on the phenomenon of "man caves," or special parts of the home men are setting off for themselves and turning into male-themed hidey-holes, attracted some man-cave photos. But we need more for the big follow-up "Lite Extra." E-mail photos of your man cave to the address below with a description of how you converted your garage, guest room or shed into your own private poker-playing, football-watching, pool-shooting, beer-swilling domain.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org